The 30 Biggest Criminal Trials in Rap History

3. The People of the State of New York v. Jamal Barrow (2001)

Crime: Attempted Murder, Assault, Reckless Endangerment
Verdict: Guilty
Sentence: Served nine years at Clinton Correctional Facility in New York.

21-year-old Shyne Barrow, his girlfriend Monay Hawkins, Sean "Puffy" Combs, and Jennifer Lopez were at a Manhattan club on December 27, 1999 when a group of clubgoers got into an argument with Puffy. Reportedly, Matthew “Scar” Allen threw money at the mogul. The conflict escalated; guns were drawn, and three people were shot.

Shyne was arrested when witnesses identified him as one of the shooters. Puffy and the rest of his entourage fled the scene, and were later apprehended. Jennifer Lopez was charged initially, but those charges were dropped. Puffy and bodyguard Anthony Jones were aquitted. Shyne would go on to be convicted to 10 years for assault and weapons possession, amongst other charges.

During the trial, his attorney Murray Richman claimed the rapper was acting in self-defense. He was found guilty for the shooting of victim Natania Reuben, who had been shot in the face. At the end of the trial, he begged for mercy, asking the court not to “waste my life.” After being incarcerated, he continued recording material; his second album, Godfather Buried Alive, was released while he was in prison and went Gold.

Shyne is widely considered to have taken the rap for Combs. In 2012, he released a song entitled “You’re Welcome,” in which he publicly takes credit for keeping Puff out of trouble in the murder trial: “My co-d called witnesses just to sacrifice me,” he claims.

Shyne would be freed only to face deportation to his native Belize. Puffy’s bodyguard Anthony Jones was killed in 2003 in Atlanta, in a shooting associated with imprisoned BMF head Big Meech. In December of 2011, almost 12 years after the initial shooting, Matthew “Scar” Allen was shot and killed outside of Brooklyn’s Footprints nightclub.

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